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Guardian maintains web pace as Independent fades has held its lead among national newspaper websites with a record 20.6m unique users visiting in July, while the Independent and Mirror Group lost ground, according to the latest ABCe figures.

The site drew 0.6% more users than in June, when it overtook Mail Online to reclaim its traditional first place, with taking second place.

Last month recorded almost 1m fewer visitors than in June, slipping 4.9% to 18.75m.

It narrowly held onto second place despite a massive leap of 16.8% for Mail Online, which includes the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday sites, to 18.71m.

In terms of UK visitors only, is still top with 8.5m users (41% of its total), ahead of with 6.4m users (34%) and Mail Online with 5.5m users (29%).

Outside the top three, Times Online was the highest-placed, rising 0.13% from June to 16.4m unique users.

News International stablemate The Sun, which includes, and, was up 2.98% to 15.98m.

Times Online has 5.9m UK users (36% of its total) while The Sun's group has 5.5m (35%).

At the bottom of the table both the Independent and the Mirror suffered reverses. lost 9% of its audience, down from 7.2m to 6.6m, and Mirror Group Digital's users (including, and were down 4.6% to 5.2m. did not publish how many UK users it has. Mirror Group Digital has 2.96m, which is 57% of its total.

The biggest year on year growth was enjoyed by, up 108% from its 8.99m figure last July.

The Sun is second in these terms with 69% growth from 9.4m, followed by Mail Online with 58% growth from 11.9m.

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